Monday, June 13, 2011

Brutality in Bihar: Police firing kills four including pregnant woman in Forbesganj in Araria

Araria killings again show police's anti-poor mindset
Once again the ugly face of police was revealed in Forbesganj in Bihar's Araria district where policemen opened fire at villagers, killing four persons including a pregnant woman and a child.

The police force which is supposed to protect the citizens mostly acts as if it is a paid militia raised to serve the interests of the high and mighty.

In this case also, the firing was to serve the interests of a politician who owns a factory near Bhajanpur. That the victims were Muslims is another aspect.

But the truth is that often policemen turn trigger happy when they confront a crowd that comprises the poor. Anybody who is hapless and not well connected, gets the cops boot or bullet.

[See this shocking video* at Dainik Bhaskar's website which shows the policeman stomping over a body]Even more chilling was the sight of a home guard personnel, Sunil, stomping over a body, as if he was celebrating the murders in cold blood. The administration remained passive until the video footage was aired on TV channels.

The man was injured in firing and as he fell unconscious, he was lynched by the personnel. Sadly, the incident occurred in a district which is currently headed by a woman police official Garima Malik, who is currently posted as SP Araria.

In news reports, Malik seemed to justify the use of force. It is something that has happened innumerable times. Poor people are shot dead. The police officers then justify it by claiming that they acted to save themselves from the 'irate mob'.

This age-old mentality persists though the degree of contempt and violence towards poor is much higher in rural area where policemen have unchecked authority. As more information trickles it, its clear that the politician was on the spot and had a role in the incident.

It is a terrible reality that the uniformed men get salaries from the citizens to protect them and join the force with the oath to save them but strangely don't bat an eyelid while shedding their (citizen's) blood.

After every such incident, the officers claim that the mob had gone 'berserk' and had to be 'controlled'.

Ironically, no Chief Minister takes high moral ground. Police excesses are tolerated to absurd limits.

One expected that Nitish Kumar would have taken a strong action or at least condemned this indiscriminate killing by policemen. He would have earned respect for it.

It is really a shame that sixty years after independence, our force shoots 'protesters' and demonstrators. From Kashmir to Bihar, the situation remains the same. Cops get into a sort of frenzy and shoot from point blank range--mostly in heads, chests and not in the lower part.

The conflict at Forbesganj has some history. Here also land had been acquired long back. Recently, villagers had razed the boundary wall of a factory that was constructed recently and had blocked the only route to their village.

Forget rubber pellets, water cannons, tear gas or other measures of crowd control. There is a sort of glee with which policemen subject the poor to torture. Either it is Jammu and Kashmir or Bihar, police remain the same and their political masters appear indifferent towards such blatant display of policemen's barbarism.

Else one would have seen tough action against the culprits. It is this approach that lets the policemen get away with heinous crimes and as a result the incidents keep recurring in different parts of the country. Not supension or transfer, the guilty cops should be dismissed from service after a quick inquiry, in order to send a strong message to the rogue jawans.

Still, one hopes that Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar would take note of the serious human rights violation and take stringent action. Though a judicial inquiry has been announced, the need is to take quick action rather than wait for years for the outcome of the report and then expect its recommendations to be acted upon.

Read journalist Mumtaz Ahmad Falahi's report 'She came to see me, got six bullets in her head' from Bhajanpur village in Forbesganj (Araria) at Twocircles.Net. The second report is 'Police shot my brother from behind, then romped over hid body'.

On this blog the issue of policemen opening fire at innocent persons and targeting the poor has been raised repeatedly. Read the past stories:

1. Is the Indian police a force to safeguard the rich?
2. Extra-judicial killings: Ranvir's encounter in Uttarakhand
3. Police brutality: Truth of an encounter in Manipur and shocking photographs
4. Innocent Kuldeep gets bullet, Vandals get respect: What's wrong with our society?

[*The video is also available on youtube at this link]